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Saturday Review
Saturday 7.15 - 8.00pm.
Saturday Review offers sharp, critical discussion of the week's cultural events.
This week
Saturday 04 August 2007
Listen to this programme in full
The Bolshoi Ballet at the London Coliseum (Damir Yusupov /©Bolshoi Ballet)
Richard Gere in The Hoax; The Bolshoi pirate extravaganza; Winifred Wagner’s love for the young Hitler and theatrical Absurdity revived.
Tom Sutcliffe and guests discuss the cultural highlights of the week

Joining Tom on this week's panel are:

Professor Roy Foster - historian
Misha Glenny -writer and journalist
Professor Kathryn Hughes - biographer

The Hoax
In 1971, Clifford Irving achieved the heights of American journalism, by obtaining a series of unprecedented interviews with the ultra-reclusive, immensely powerful, superstar billionaire Howard Hughes - and becoming the conduit for the publication of Hughes' memoirs. Except that he didn't - the whole thing was a hoax. Irving's attempt to fool the entire US publishing industry has now been made into a film - starring Richard Gere and Alfred Molina.

The Hoax is released in selected cinemas across the UK on Friday August 3, certificate 15.

Winnie and Wolf

A.N. Wilson’s book tells the story of the extraordinary relationship between Winifred Wagner and Adolf Hitler that took place during the years 1925–40, as seen through the eyes of the secretary at the Wagner house in Bayreuth.

Winnie and Wolf by A.N. Wilson is published by Hutchinson.

Le Corsaire

The Bolshoi ballet’s 2007 London season opens with a new production of the 19th century classic Le Corsaire by the Bolshoi’s Artistic Director Alexei Ratmansky. The story of the ballet is based very loosely on Byron’s poem and tells the story of a dashing pirate who rescues a Greek country girl who has been enslaved by a cruel Turkish pasha.

With a cast of 130 and an orchestra of 80 the production is said by the Bolshoi to be the most expensive ballet ever staged.

The Bolshoi are at the Coliseum until August 18. Le Corsaire runs in repertory together with Don Quixote, La Bayadere, Spartacus, a triple bill and The Bright Stream.

Guest Choice

Roy Foster chooses the war paintings of William Orpen as his guest choice.

Orpen’s war paintings are held at The Imperial War Museum in London but they are not on permanent display but a selection of his works can be viewed on the museum’s website.


In celebration of the British Absurdist playwrights, the Donmar Theatre in London has staged a triple bill of plays, directed by Douglas Hodge. There are two revivals of the work of N. F. Simpson, A Resounding Tinkle and Gladly Otherwise, and the world première of Michael Frayn’s The Crimson Hotel.

N. F. Simpson is a leading British Absurdist playwright, now rarely performed until this year when he has enjoyed something of a revival.

Absurdia is at the Donmar in London until September 8.

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